Indıa and Europe. Liberalism and Europe: Beyond the Clichés. Follow up Post 9

The EU will not be improved by a mixture of well worn passages of Hayek and idealising references to the United States, and its supposed continuity with monarchist feudal Medieval England.

 

Posts following on, point by point, from a post of 1st June criticising ways in which the European Union has been discussed, and compared with the United States, and the ways in which Hayek’s liberalism is understood.  

This point really summarises the purpose of the original post.  I’ll take the opportunity to discuss a major issue in relation to comparisons.  

The European Union must be understood as it is, and not just through comparison with the United States of America, though this is a comparison that needs to be made.  Comparisons with India are certainly necessary.  Though the EU and the Republic of India are at very different levels of economic development, what they have in common is the union of peoples with different languages, religions and state traditions.  India was never completely unified before independence.  About half the country was run by native princes, in a form of indirect colonialism.  Hinduism is by far the majority religion, but Islam, Sikhism, Jain, Buddhism and Christianity all have a notable presence, to which we might add Parsi, very  small in numbers but a noticeable presence in the economic and intellectual elites. Hinduism is very tied up with Indian identity, but its influence is no greater than that of Christianity in Europe. Hindi is a national language, but is not widely used in the south, where languages are from a different family, Dravidian, from that of Hindi (which is an Indo-European language). The Tibeto-Burman, Munda, Mon-Khmer, and Burushaski families also have significant representation. Nearly all Europeans speak Indo-European languages, the biggest exception is Turkey, followed by Finland, Estonia and the Basque country (along with various languages of recent immigrants, whether these survive on a significant scale and become established in Europe remains to be seen).  The geographical diversity and diversity of local conditions in India of various kind is very strong. It is a sub-continent, and it would be a vast task to go through the differences contained within India, of every kind.  

India certainly has its problems: poverty to the point of malnutrition for hundreds of millions, violent secessionism, Naxalite (Maoist) uprisings, banditry, religiously based violence, corruption.  No one suggest though that India would be better off dividing, between north and south, the most obvious dividing point, or even less dividing into the individual states.  There are national political parties, bus majority in the Lok  Sabha is only possible with support from regional parties.

If the above differentiating issues in India, and many others, are not reasons for India to break up, then there is no reason for the European Union to break-up.  There is more of a history of dominant imperial states in India than in Europe, but those Indian states came and went, foreign forces kept intruding,  and India was never completely unified before 1948, and Europe has its own integrating history: Roman Empire, Medieval Papacy, Charlemagne’s Empire, Napoleon; and on the inter-state level, the Treaty of Westphalia, the  Vienna Congress, the Concert of Powers, the Paris Peace Treaties of 1919.    The European Union period has been the happiest period in Europe for peace, democracy and economic prosperity. It looks like a more viable state system than India, though I don’t doubt that India will and should survey, and that there is much to admire in the history of republican India. 

 

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